Knives Out For The Poles

In what appears to be a clear case of head-in-sanditis, British Chief Constable Julie Spence claims that it is ingrained in Poland’s culture to carry knives, and, in talk reminiscent of Orwell’s authoritarian government in 1984, she also declares that the Brits must “educate” the immigrant Polish population on how to behave when on the Isles.

In the statement, made in early June, Mrs. Spence said “We have had the Iraqi Kurds who carry knives and the Poles and the Lithuanians who carry knives. If it is normal to carry them where you come from, you need to educate them pretty quickly.”

Indeed, the United Kingdom seems to have a problem. Police in England and Wales recorded 22,151 incidents involving knives (250 fatal) during 2007. Last month, during a day of madness, 6 people were stabbed to death in unconnected attacks around England, and only last week an 18year-old boy was the 21st teenager to die on London’s streets – where a total of 54 people have been stabbed to death so far this year.

Strange thing is, none of these tragic incidents involved a person of Polish origin – and if they were, no doubt the tabloids would have screamed it from the rooftops. Maybe Brits are stabbing each other, frustrated at the amount of immigrants in the country…

A small handful of Poles probably do carry blades (one would be naïve to think otherwise), as do idiots native to the British Isles, and those from other countries that make up the UK’s rich cultural tapestry – and it should not be tolerated. But, to focus on the Poles is scandalous, and shifting the blame to an easy target.

Outrageous comments such as Mrs. Spence’s do nothing but add fuel to a fire elaborately constructed by convenient toilet roll substitutes such as the The Sun and The Daily Mail; the latter lauding Mrs. Spence as “an officer prepared to confront uncomfortable home truths.”

An unsurprising conclusion coming from the purveyors of hysteria and town-criers of xenophobia, who, with their severely biased coverage of an immigrant population, portray them to be the catalyst for unemployment, benefit fraud and rising crime.

But why stop there? The UK’s soaring teenage pregnancies, binge-drinking problem (which we are fortunate of experiencing first-hand most weekends) – even England’s failure to qualify for Euro 2008 – surely that is their fault too?

I digress. No nation is perfect. Poland has its own problems: an astonishing number of fatal road accidents, a communist witch-hunt Senator McCarthy would have been proud of, and a bickering government that can’t even agree on the Sejm’s canteen menu – but to point the finger of blame on Poles for a knife-culture caused by Britain’s own governmental failures and neglect of their youth is unacceptable, bordering on incitement to racial hatred.

Ultimately, it is a reckless statement that endangers the lives of thousands of Poles, and will encourage small pockets of nationalist, racist thugs to take to the streets of Britain with the aim of carrying out their own style of “educating.”

In a recent interview with TVN24, Chief Constable Spence, whilst stopping short of an apology, said that she didn’t mean to offend the Polish community, claiming her words were taken “out of context.” Her protestations fall on deaf ears; an experienced and shrewd handler of the press, Spence should be aware of the ammunition her ignorant remarks would provide for a manipulative and savage right-wing press.

As such, Julie Spence should be disciplined by her superiors, forced to issue a public apology, and be held to account for any reprisals that the UK’s Polish community may encounter as a consequence.

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